Perhaps familiarity breeds contempt, but I got myself stranded in nullsec again today, though like a true gentleman I ensured my fleet got home first, and left my covert cyno Arazu and Panther behind.
I was in 4NBN-9 way out the butthole of Catch. or wherever. It was quiet, I had nabbed a guy in an Abaddon via calculating how long he was taking to do his belts (5 minutes), and once I spotted a freshly tilled belt in farmville (p6 m4), left it 15 and warped the Arazu in to p6 m7. Bingo. Sometimes you really feel like you are on top of your game.
Then, of course, I got myself stuck out in null via a crummy K346 and had two practical choices: HED-GP, or going back via Querious, the only jump I couldn't do via cynoing the panther to the Arazu being to 49-U. Also, it would let me reset some market orders in ED-9LT on the way out. Either way, it was going to be semi-epic. Or so I thought.
When I was in Querious with NEM3SIS we had the 3-F to Efa gate sewn up tighter than a nun's undies. Our quivering carebears deeper in Querious would spot people trying to scuttle to Efa and we'd have bubbles on the Efa gate in 3-F faster than you could blub "CNR!" and we'd get most, if not all. We would then get trowelled by Red Alliance's High Venture Team guys, who were good. But then we got told to fuck off to Delve, and spent 2 months out there tilling the fields and shooting TEST. Eventually, when RA got ejected from the Russian conclave of drone mining, they were graciously allowed to take our sov in Delve.
By this time everyone was aware of the rumblings of drone poo being nerfed and the old oligopoly of the Russians was falling apart. It was fine when you had drone poo sorted. You'd have 2-4 bots in Thannies or even Nyxes in a fully pimped dead-end -1.0 system (and the drone region truesec was low) splatting drones, and a few bots hoovering up the poo. Then you need real people online to collate the poo into gigantic stacks of minerals in a hangar, someone to light a cyno for jump freighter taking it the 3 JF hops in to Lowsec, and then you trade, dump, contract, sell at a stupid price or otherwise launder the poo into ISK, which gets funnelled back up the chain of command and sold to dudes on EBay for roubles to keep the gulag owner in his BMW's and whores.
Or whatever; but this was the ecology, and the moment you take the drone poo out of the equation the whole power structure of the great drone farms falls apart as you don't have a need for 30 JF alts, the ISK flows directly into a toon's account and can't be lost by shuffling goods between toons in stations or POS hangars. And thus, RA ended up in Delve. Then TEST fucked them in the ass with Goons, and that was that.
What is the point of all this political history? Well, I got an Arazu and Panther out down the pipe which, in my day, would have required all the hijinks and safespots I had created way back when...but now? I honestly should have autopiloted it. I cross-jumped one Ishkur and breezed past one guy ratting in a Tengu. The place is deserted.
Now to my point. This is the problem with TEST/Goons, HBC, etcetera at the moment. There is nowhere for the noobs to go in nullsec aside from being a bitch of one of the big organisations. Apparently it's now the Initiative, whoever they are. They certainly aren't farming nor protecting their space, and why would you if there's nowhere to go for good fights? If all your good fights do is attract the bored blobs and you get nutpunched, you may as well cave or go rub nuts with PL in NPC Delve or Stain. But the big blobs are bored because they don't have anyone to nutpunch anymore - but this is because they aren't letting the ecology of nullsec grow the new crop. Maybe its a phase we are going through, as this was all said about the Russian blob before (and now, I guess, they are in w-space now they can't farm with titans).
I think the status quo needs tipping. The babylonians over-irrigated and fucked their land, and their empire fell. Or was it the Mesopotamians? Either way, environmental changes cause the collapse of empires, and the next in line for EVE is the cloud ring mining and upsetting the tech monopolies. Much is said about Goons and the tech monopolies and the evils it produces, but realistically there is an imperative for them to keep supply to make the money, and they have been good market participants, just like the Saudis. Regardless, there is more stagnation and less content and less of a nullsec ecology for three regions that 12 months ago were known as the Thunderdome. I put this down to power concentration, and it will be good for the game to upset the Tech Moon apple cart. Maybe this alone will fuck Goons, or TEST, or AAA.
Finally, my time in Faction Warfare shows the w-space model of shooting farmers and leaving PVPers in their holes is the way to play a game. In an MMO like EVE you need to give your foe a chance to pick himself up. if you win everything, you won't have a game to play. Which is just bad gaming.